Bizarro GOP Implosion Could Give Georgia Democrats a U.S. Senator

Bizarro GOP Implosion Could Give Georgia Democrats a U.S. SenatorWhen two prominent Georgia Republicans decided to run for the same U.S. Senate seat this year, Republicans didn’t expect a kind, gentle contest.But many also didn’t anticipate what the race ultimately became: a bitterly personal, scorched-earth brawl between Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins that has frayed friendships, scrambled delicate political loyalties in Georgia, and split high-profile Washington Republicans, including President Donald Trump himself. Even worse for the Georgia GOP, the infighting has potentially cleared a path for a Democrat to beat them both.The two have attacked each other on every possible front. Loeffler has painted Collins as a self-interested swamp creature who secretly loves liberals and is squishy on the things conservatives care about. Collins has done the exact same thing, adding in a dash of corruption, owing to revelations of Loeffler’s stock sell-offs around private COVID-19 briefings.Collins’ friendships with Democratic lawmakers have been an issue. Loeffler’s ownership of an Andy Warhol print of Mao Zedong has been an issue. Each has sought to outdo each other in professing their love and loyalty to Trump. And each has accused the other of being a secret ally of Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee turned U.S. Senator from Utah, and the sole Republican vote to convict Trump during his impeachment trial.Amid all the intra-party sniping, Collins and Loeffler, and the various deep-pocketed outside groups backing their respective candidacies, have largely ignored the Democrat in the race, Raphael Warnock. That’s left him with months to define himself for voters free from the sort of scorched-earth campaigning on the other side of the aisle. And it’s made Warnock not just a contender but, for some political prognosticators, the outright favorite to win the seat.The GOP has seen many nasty primaries before and considered them a normal, even healthy, part of the process. But the structure of this Georgia contest has changed the usual calculus. Loeffler and Collins aren’t only running against each other: they’re just two of two dozen candidates competing in the so-called “jungle primary,” where the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance to a January runoff election if no candidate cracks 50 percent on Nov. 3.Once upon a time, Republicans thought that both their candidates could be strong enough to nab the top two spots amid a divided Democratic field, ensuring the seat remains in GOP hands no matter what. But Democrats have consolidated around Warnock, a reverend and activist, as their preferred candidate in the race.The effect has been dramatic, according to public polling of the race. Just three months ago, Monmouth University’s poll found Loeffler and Collins neck-and-neck, with Warnock at 9 percent, a distant third. But on Wednesday, Monmouth found a seismic shift: Warnock had jumped to 41 percent, with Loeffler at 21 percent and Collins at 18 percent.It’s universally accepted now that only one Republican will make it into the runoff. And there’s growing concern within the party that whoever does may be too defined by their race-to-the-right bloodbath in the jungle primary to credibly appeal to the political center of this purple state. This may especially be the case for Loeffler, whose heavily self-funded campaign has blanketed airwaves with ads touting her supposedly hard-right politics. Last month, she ran an ad claiming she was more conservative than Attila the Hun, the bloodthirsty fourth century European warchief known less for his conservative ideals and more as the “scourge of all lands,” as a contemporary historian put it.“Loeffler’s ads to win this primary within the special have defined her in a way that will be hard to walk back in two months,” said one Georgia Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the race candidly.“People will remember the Attila the Hun ads,” the Republican continued. “Transitioning to ‘Atlanta businessperson who will help rebuild the economy’ becomes a lot harder, because Collins hasn’t had nearly as much money, he hasn’t defined himself into a corner.”Pro-Kelly Loeffler Super PAC Bankrolled by Her HusbandJason Shepherd, the chairman of the GOP in Cobb County—a bastion of Republican votes in the state—is, like many party officials, publicly neutral on the race, and told The Daily Beast he likes both Loeffler and Collins. “It’s like any kind of inter-party fight, it’s becoming nasty on both sides,” Shepherd said. “There is a lot of time to heal.”Republicans in Washington generally agree with this assessment, and believe that, like in times past, the party will ultimately unify when faced with a binary choice versus a Democrat.For other prominent Georgia Republicans, however, this race has been too brutal for there to be a prospect of healing. Debbie Dooley, who co-founded the Atlanta Tea Party, is an outspoken Collins supporter, and frames the race as a choice between the conservative grassroots, represented by her candidate, and the corrupt Republican elite, represented by Loeffler.Anyone who thinks that there’ll be an easy consolidation in Georgia after Nov. 3, said Dooley, is “smoking crack.”“I’m a lifelong Republican activist since 1976, and I just cannot support Kelly Loeffler. I’ll have the red flu and sit at home if she’s the nominee,” she said. “If you’re voting with lesser of two evils, you’re still voting for evil.”That sort of intense intra-party acrimony has split Georgia Republicans just as Democrats captured enough momentum to give them a shot at their first U.S. Senate victory in the state in 20 years. This week, political forecasters at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics moved both U.S. Senate contests from “lean Republican” to “toss up.”A relative political unknown outside of Georgia, Warnock’s rise in the polls has produced a steady stream of cash and a string of high-profile endorsements, including famous Georgia politicians such as former president Jimmy Carter, the late Rep. John Lewis, and Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic leader in the state house of representatives who narrowly lost a gubernatorial election in 2018.After posting modest fundraising totals for much of the year, the Democratic small-dollar donation engine has revved up for Warnock: in the first two weeks of October alone, he raised $4.6 million dollars, bringing him to nearly $22 million for the cycle, according to federal campaign finance reports.“There’s no doubt Warnock has benefited from raising big bucks, having the luxury of telling his story and having no one lay a glove on him,” said Brian Robinson, a longtime GOP strategist for Georgia politicians. “It has given him an artificially high favorability rating.”What gives some Georgia Republicans hope is that the stakes of the runoff could be so dramatic that all Republicans would have to consolidate behind whichever candidate ends up in the runoff. That’s because control of the Senate could come down to Georgia: if neither party has a clear majority after Nov. 3, Georgia’s two Senate races—both likely to head to runoffs scheduled for January 5—would decide control of the chamber.“Republicans will be motivated to turn back out for either candidate in January because so much is on the line,” said Robinson. “There will be a reset the day after the election. There has to be.” He also warned that the eventual winner should immediately begin redefining themselves to appeal to a broader electorate—a process that “must be accompanied by outside Republican groups beginning to pour molten lava on Warnock and begin to chip away at his favorability ratings,” he said.The outside cavalry will come, even if top GOP groups in Washington have spent the last year torching Collins. But a post-Nov. 3 reset for either candidate could be hard. The Attila ads are one thing. But each has courted support from the fringe: Loeffler was endorsed this month by Marjorie Taylor Greene, a likely congressmember-to-be from Georgia whose violent rhetoric and QAnon flirtations have made her radioactive in GOP circles from Georgia to D.C. The two appeared together at a rally this month by riding onto a suburban lawn in a military-style Humvee.Always a staunch conservative during his time in the U.S. House, Collins, meanwhile, all but celebrated the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month as a win for the anti-abortion cause, and has broadcast his endorsements from open QAnon supporters.The right turn is particularly ironic for Loeffler, whose appointment to the seat by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp in late 2019 was seen as a sign that the party wanted to compete in an increasingly diverse, purple Georgia. The owner of Atlanta’s pro women’s basketball team and a fixture in wealthy, moderate Republican circles, Loeffler was not intended to run as a hard-right fire-breather.Or, as the Collins campaign put it, “she was a quiet little corporate liberal who was fine with flag protests and diversity slogans until she fell behind in her Senate race. Now she’s trying to be Attila the Hun.”What Loeffler did indisputably bring to the table was money. Gobs of it. When Kemp appointed her to the seat, she immediately became the Senate’s wealthiest member. Loeffler initially said she would put as much as $20 million of her own funds into her reelection contest. It turned out that wasn’t enough; as of mid-October, Loeffler had lent her campaign $23 million. Her husband, New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, dumped another $5.5 million into a super PAC devoted solely to her reelection.But their personal fortune, seen as an obvious political asset when Loeffler was appointed to the seat, also became a major liability. In March, The Daily Beast reported that she and Sprecher had sold of millions of dollars in stock in the wake of a closed-door Senate briefing on the coronavirus. The FBI and Senate ethics officials both investigated, but did not determine that she had violated laws barring federal officeholders from trading on non-public information.The scandal nonetheless dogged Loeffler’s campaign, as both Collins and Warnock accused her of profiteering off of the pandemic and resulting economic turmoil. A pro-Collins outside group, Georgia’s Not For Sale, sustained the line of attack throughout the campaign.The Collins-Loeffler blood feud has put their mutual lodestar, Trump, in a tough position. The president has dutifully backed up the new senator who has hugged him tightly and suggested he should win multiple Nobel Peace Prizes. But Trump also has a longstanding affinity for Collins, his chief defender during the House impeachment inquiry.It’s unclear which candidate has an edge among the hardcore GOP base, but if the Monmouth poll released on Wednesday is any indication, it could be Loeffler. Asked which candidate is “more supportive” of the president, respondents said Loeffler, by a nearly three-to-one margin.But many believe that there are quiet Collins supporters who don’t want to publicly broadcast their support for him so as not to run afoul of Kemp and the GOP establishment. “Reticence about getting on the other side of the governor has frozen a lot of fundraising for Collins,” the anonymous Georgia Republican told The Daily Beast.During a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, two weeks ago, both Collins and Loeffler were present. The president praised them both publicly from the stage—and the reaction was telling, for close observers of the race: Loeffler got enthusiastic applause from the crowd when Trump mentioned her, but Collins got an unmistakable roar from the crowd. Shepherd, the Cobb County GOP chair, said he turned to a friend after hearing the responses. “I said, ‘uh oh,’” he told The Daily Beast.“Boy, am I in a lousy position,” sighed an exasperated Trump at the rally. “I love ‘em both.” But he suggested there could be at least one person who comes out ahead in this nasty feud.“You know who the biggest winner is gonna be? Trump,” he said. “Everybody who votes for both is gonna vote for me.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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Pelosi Claims Dems Have Way To Handle COVID, They Just Need Biden Elected

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi basically promised a presidential election win for former Vice President Joe Biden when she said that Democrats are ready to work with him on a transition agenda to tackle the COVID pandemic.

“I feel very confident that Joe Biden will be elected president on Tuesday,” Pelosi said.

“On Jan. 20, he will be inaugurated president of the United States.”

“So while we don’t want to be overconfident or assume anything, we have to be ready for how we’re going to go down a different path,” she said.

READ: Smug Nancy Pelosi Says She’s ‘Very Confident That Joe Biden Will Be Elected President On Tuesday’

Pelosi also added that Democrats have a way to crush the coronavirus — a science-based approach.

She’s Forcing Herself To Believe Her Lies

If you ask me – even when she tries to act confident, she sounds defeated.

For four years, Pelosi threw everything she could think of at the President, and in the end, everything failed.

When the President wins reelection on Tuesday, Pelosi and her actions will be just one of many reasons why.

Four years ago, Pelosi was positive that Hillary Clinton was going to win by a landslide.

The ordeal so weakened her that she still could not stand up or applaud at President Trump’s inauguration.

She’s Been Wrong About Almost Everything

By my count, Pelosi’s judgment has been wrong on every issue since she became Speaker.

From where I’m sitting, she seems to believe her best play is to obstruct everything.

Pelosi believes negotiation is a weakness, but she fails to appreciate that her “all or nothing” strategy does not work.

The House Speaker would be far more effective by getting the most important things she can bargain for.

Any fool can see that something is better than nothing.

Remember Nancy Pelosi’s recent meltdown with Wolf Blitzer, talking about COVID stimulus negotiations?

The Speaker of the House should have exceptional negotiation skills.

Clearly her list of accomplishments during her tenure has not met even a minimum standard.

READ: Chelsea Handler Brags About Verbally Assaulting Conservatives In Airports On ‘The View’

Until she puts aside her personal hatred of Trump and Republicans, she will never rise to serve her constituents in a manner that meets a minimum standard.

Her party and her supporters deserve and expect more from the Speaker of the House.

If Nancy cannot be successful in her position, she should step aside and let the party select somebody who can meet party goals and voters’ expectations.

Nancy Pelosi’s Science-Based Approach To Crush COVID?

Pelosi dropped a nugget during her briefing, declaring that Democrats have a science-based approach to crush the virus.

“The president has taken us on a deadly path. The Heroes Act takes us on a scientific path to help save the lives and livelihoods of the American people,” Pelosi proclaimed.

That’s amazing! 

China birthed an interesting virus this time. It comes with an improved spike making “COVID Classic” look obsolete.

If you were building a new model car virus in the ’60s, this is a Mustang.

And it came with no seatbelts or brakes.

READ: Newt Gingrich Issues Major Warning To Trump Supporters Before The Election

What does that mean? This is a novel virus that no one knew how to control.

No mask, lockdown, guideline, quarantine, or otherwise was going to stop this virus from taking a toll.

Doctors, scientists, and officials should have known from Day One that the toll would be high – on American lives, the economy, and our way of life.

Take a look at what’s happening in Europe. Media figures beat us over the head with how great Europe was in following the experts. 

Now countries like Germany and France are seeing a huge “second wave,” despite all their measures.

I think the best course of action is better therapeutics, vaccines, and protections for the elderly and infirm.

Open it all up… there’s your science-based approach from Wayne Dupree.

Beware Of Nancy Pelosi, Her Promises, And Her COVID “Science”

Democrats will not and would not work with the current administration to help save Americans’ lives, but they will if Joe Biden is elected?

Is that what Nancy is saying?

Getting rid of the coronavirus, “based on science?” The science of whom?

Behind the word “science,” there is always a group of people, their knowledge, limitations, contradictions, biology and passions, biases, and interests.

Today, the word is used with the same dogmatic authority as the word “God” up until a while ago.

Beware of people who speak in the name of “science.”

MORE FROM WAYNEDUPREE.COM

The post Pelosi Claims Dems Have Way To Handle COVID, They Just Need Biden Elected appeared first on The Political Insider.

Van Drew’s defection to GOP haunts him in tight race

It was supposed to be an audacious act of political survival.

Fearing Democrats’ impeachment push would end his career in a southern New Jersey district won by President Donald Trump, Rep. Jeff Van Drew dropped the “D” next to his name and joined the GOP.

But nearly one year and a global pandemic later, Van Drew’s pledge to give his “undying support” to Trump could end up sinking the freshman lawmaker.

Van Drew, like many of his Republican colleagues, now finds himself having to answer for an unpopular president, whose shaky handling of the coronavirus and inflammatory rhetoric has damaged the GOP’s standing nationwide, especially in the suburbs.

Van Drew currently trails in the polls to a well-funded Democratic challenger in Amy Kennedy, a former public school teacher who married into the Kennedy political dynasty. Kennedy is leading Van Drew by five points among registered voters, according to a Monmouth University poll from earlier this month, though it’s within the survey’s margin of error. POLITICO’s election forecasters rate the race as a “toss up.”

Democrats have tried to use Van Drew’s party change and sudden embrace of Trump as a cudgel, branding him as “switcheroo Van Drew” and accusing him of betraying his constituents for his own self interests. In one ad, Democrats even ribbed Van Drew for his taste for flashy suits in a bid to portray him as superficial and inauthentic.

“It felt like he was willing to do or say anything to keep his job,” said Kennedy, who decided to run for office after hearing Van Drew promise his unwavering loyalty to Trump. “There are a lot of people in the district who really respect someone who can be independent-minded, but that’s not what that felt like to them.”

In an interview, Van Drew defended his decision to abandon the Democratic Party, which caught his colleagues off guard and stunned Washington. Van Drew, a dentist who served in the state Legislature for over a decade, noted he was always a conservative-leaning Democrat. But Van Drew argued that the party abandoned its “big tent” principles and was no longer a good fit for him.

Yet despite pledging his fealty to Trump in an Oval Office sit-down, Van Drew now says he is not beholden to any leader — including the president. And Van Drew maintains that voters respect independent-minded politicians, especially in his south Jersey district just outside of Philadelphia, which went for Trump in 2016 but backed Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

“You vote for the person,” said Van Drew, who won his seat by eight points in 2018. “It’s not your job to vote for me, if you were in my district, because I’m a Republican. It's your job to think about the two candidates and which candidate would do a better job for the district.”

“I didn’t betray anybody,” he added. “When people call me up and they need help, whatever party they are, I help them.”

The match-up between Van Drew and Kennedy — which has become one of the most hotly-contested races in the country — has drawn national attention, with outside resources pouring in. Democrats are not only eager to win back a seat they thought they had already seized in 2018, but also seek revenge for Van Drew’s high-profile defection.

Kennedy, who has notched endorsements from Obama and Joe Biden, has outraised and outspent Van Drew. Kennedy has spent $1.2 million on the airwaves, compared to Van Drew’s $367,000, according to the ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics. But Van Drew had roughly $600,000 more in the bank than Kennedy as of mid-October, according to the latest FEC reports.

Republicans, meanwhile, have sought to reward Van Drew for joining their ranks while also preventing the GOP from slipping further into the House minority. Since joining the party, Van Drew got a rally from Trump, desirable committee assignments from GOP leaders and a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention.

Notably, Van Drew’s campaign message has focused on calls for bipartisanship and putting country over party. He talks more about American exceptionalism on the campaign trail than he does about Trump, though Van Drew confirmed he plans to vote for the president, despite endorsing home-state colleague Sen. Cory. Booker (D-N.J.) in the Democratic presidential primary.

Van Drew has also tried to label his opponent as a liberal Democrat who supports sanctuary cities, open borders and defunding the police.

“I believe the future of the country depends upon not just my election — of course, I’m not an egomaniac — but on the direction that we take,” Van Drew said. “And the direction that my opponent would want to take is significantly different than the direction I would want to take.”

Switching parties has yielded mixed results in the past, so it was always going to be an electoral gamble for Van Drew, strategists say. He risks infuriating the Democrats who backed him in 2018, while there’s no guarantee Republican voters will trust him. And independents might be turned off by his tight embrace of Trump.

Nearly half of registered voters said they were bothered by Van Drew now running for Congress as a Republican, according to the Monmouth University poll.

Crossing the aisle may have looked like a safer bet for Van Drew during the height of impeachment, when there was widespread concern that swing-district Democrats could suffer at the polls because of the party’s efforts to oust the president.

Had he remained in the Democratic Party and maintained his opposition to impeachment, Van Drew would have likely faced a primary challenge from the left. Before he became a Republican, polling commissioned by Van Drew’s campaign showed just 24 percent of Democratic primary voters believed the congressman deserved to be reelected.

But the political landscape has changed vastly since then. Trump’s approval ratings have slumped both nationally and in Van Drew’s district. The sagging economy is further clouding the outlook for Republicans up and down the ballot. The Monmouth University poll has Joe Biden with a narrow, three-point lead over Trump in a “high turnout” election in the district.

“The president’s popularity has gone down. That hurts someone who pledged undying allegiance to Trump,” said Mike DuHaime, a Republican operative and former adviser to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Meanwhile, many frontline Democrats are actually well-positioned heading into November, defying expectations and fueling hopes that their party could actually pad their majority even further. And the election has largely been dominated by the coronavirus — not impeachment.

“No one cares about impeachment anymore. It seems like 10 years ago, not 10 months ago.” DuHaime added.

On the coronavirus, Van Drew has echoed Trump’s rhetoric. He railed against health restrictions dampening the economy, highlighted how Trump overcame the virus, criticized D.C. residents for wearing masks even alone in their cars and called on Washington to “go big” on a stimulus package.

“You know what makes people upset where I am in my district? The people that went out of business, the people that lost everything they own, the people that can’t even keep their homes, the people who work for the casinos,” he said.

Van Drew also said he has worked tirelessly on constituent services during the pandemic, which could help boost him in the race. And GOP strategists say Van Drew will likely once again attract some crossover voters — but it may not be enough.

“He has always won because people transcended party to vote for him. But is that enough in a year where Trump is so dominant on the ballot and affecting how everyone views everything?” DuHaime asked. “Now, just so many people this year are voting party-line to send a message to Trump.”

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Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept, Claims He Was Censored

Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept, Claims He Was CensoredGlenn Greenwald on Thursday announced that he had resigned from The Intercept—the digital outlet he founded in 2013 with fellow journalists Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, and with funding from First Look Media—claiming “repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity” at the publication. In response, the outlet disputed his claims of censorship and suggested his exit was essentially “a grown man throwing a tantrum.”In a post published to Substack, the long-time reporter claimed that “The final, precipitating cause” of his exit was that “The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.”He continued: “The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.”The long-time writer, whose reporting on the NSA’s surveillance operations helped The Guardian win a Pulitzer Prize in 2014, noted that he will publish the allegedly censored article in full on his Substack page.The Intercept’s editor in chief Betsy Klein responded in a scathing statement that “Greenwald’s decision to resign from The Intercept stems from a fundamental disagreement over the role of editors in the production of journalism and the nature of censorship. Glenn demands the absolute right to determine what he will publish. He believes that anyone who disagrees with him is corrupt, and anyone who presumes to edit his words is a censor. Thus the preposterous charge that The Intercept’s editors and reporters, with the lone noble exception of Glenn Greenwald, have betrayed our mission to engage in fearless investigative journalism because we have been seduced by the lure of a Joe Biden presidency. A brief glance at the stories The Intercept has published on Joe Biden will suffice to refute those claims.”She continued: “The narrative he presents about his departure is teeming with distortions and inaccuracies—all of them designed to make him appear a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum. It would take too long to point them all out here, but we intend to correct the record in time. For now, it is important to make clear that our goal in editing his work was to ensure that it would be accurate and fair. While he accuses us of political bias, it was he who was attempting to recycle a political campaign’s—the Trump campaign’s—dubious claims and launder them as journalism.”Klein concluded: “We have the greatest respect for the journalist Glenn Greenwald used to be, and we remain proud of much of the work we did with him over the past six years. It is Glenn who has strayed from his original journalism roots, not the Intercept.”Prior to the Trump presidency, Greenwald’s reporting and commentary was influential on the left—especially among civil-liberties and anti-war groups—but since 2016, his frequent Fox News appearances and increasingly Fox-friendly columns have been a source of tension at The Intercept. In recent years, Greenwald’s view of Russian interference in the U.S. election mirrored that of pro-Trump Republicans, leading to an increased presence on Fox News—especially on Tucker Carlson’s primetime program—as a non-conservative skeptic of the scandals that led to President Trump’s impeachment and as a critic of liberal “resistance” politics.“The Intercept published some of the most credulous and false affirmations of maximalist Russiagate madness, and, horrifyingly, took the lead in falsely branding the Hunter Biden archive as ‘Russian disinformation’ by mindlessly and uncritically citing—of all things—a letter by former CIA officials that contained this baseless insinuation,” he wrote in his resignation announcement.Greenwald’s appeared to hint at his criticism of his own outlet over coverage of the Hunter Biden emails during an Oct. 21 appearance on Carlson’s show, in which he insisted that editors at many publications were outright ordering their reporters to lay off the story.“There are newsrooms all throughout New York and Washington, D.C., where top editors are explicitly saying they do not want this story investigated and they are being clear that the reason they don't want to investigate it is because they think even if there is corruption that's exposed here,” Greenwald claimed. “In their view, Trump is worse and therefore it would be malfeasance on the part of the media to report corruption on the part of Biden when Trump is so much more corrupt.”“If what they are saying is, they see their role as journalists not as informing the public to let the public decide which candidate is better and which is worse, they see journalism, the function of it is to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden,” he added.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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Marine vet Joey Jones slams media’s ‘abhorrent’ double standard after Tony Bobulinski’s allegations ignored

The mainstream media's treatment of Hunter Biden's ex-business associate Tony Bobulinski is in stark contrast to a key witness in the Trump impeachment hearings, retired Staff Sgt. Johnny "Joey" Jones argued Thursday.

Lindsey Graham, you're on your own

Lindsey Graham, you're on your ownThere have been few high-profile Republican politicians more publicly and slavishly devoted to President Trump over the last few years than Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Words like "toady" and "lapdog" have frequently been used to describe the senator's subservience. Apparently that near-total fealty hasn't been enough for Graham to earn a little loyalty in return.The Trumpiest corners of the conservative ecosphere have made it plain in recent weeks that they're ready to abandon Graham — who is locked in a tight re-election race with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison — even if it means losing his Senate seat. "I don't know why anyone in the great state of South Carolina would ever vote for Lindsey Graham. It's just outrageous," Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said last week."It's about time" for Graham to be defeated, added a writer at the right-wing American Greatness website.Graham has never been particularly popular among hardcore conservatives, but it is still shocking to see them turn on a fellow Republican candidate in a close general election race. For right-wing activists, the senator's problem is that he is only about 97 percent steadfast in serving Trump's wishes, instead of a full 100 percent. Dobbs, for example, pointed out that Graham — in his role as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — had failed to pursue evidence of the fake "Obamagate" scandal that Trump has tried — and failed — to get going. It's the same reason Trump has talked about getting rid of FBI Director Christopher Wray after the election."He's done absolutely nothing to investigate Obamagate except to tell everyone, 'Stay tuned,' time and time again. Stay tuned," Dobbs said. "Senator Graham needs to be tuned out in South Carolina."The rhetoric could endanger Graham's campaign: If even a small portion of South Carolina conservatives decide to withhold their support, he could lose his seat. Trump could possibly discourage the attacks on Graham if he wanted to, but so far, he hasn't. One has to wonder if the president had Graham in mind last week when he told GOP donors there were some Republican senators he just couldn't support for re-election."There are a couple senators I can't really get involved in," Trump reportedly said. "I just can't do it. You lose your soul if you do. I can't help some of them. I don't want to help some of them."Trump's worried about his soul? This is the same man who endorsed Roy Moore for the Senate back in 2017 while Moore was under a cloud of allegations of pursuing relationships with teen girls when he was in his 30s. More recently, Trump endorsed QAnon conspiracy devotee Marjorie Taylor Greene, calling her a "future Republican star." It's difficult to determine the boundaries of Trump's conscience.But Trump's silence on Graham — and his willingness to savage other GOP candidates of dubious loyalty, like Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) — suggests the president either doesn't understand or doesn't care how important a GOP-controlled Senate might be to governing in his own possible second term in office.Republicans in the Senate have already saved Trump from conviction on impeachment charges; the president presumably liked having that security blanket. If Trump should win re-election and Democrats take the Senate, though, he will probably face more investigations and scrutiny of both his personal affairs and his operation of government. His biggest achievement, stacking the judiciary with conservative judges, would probably come to a halt. Trump wouldn't be totally powerless in such a scenario — he could speed up the pace of deregulation and continue to misuse the Justice Department — but his life would probably be a lot more difficult.Other presidents have recognized that their power depends on their relationships with the House and Senate, of course, which is why they usually grin and bear it when taking criticism from elected members of their party. Usually, they see the bigger picture of exercising power effectively, and they know not to take it personally if a senator or member of congress expresses a bit of independence. But Trump has shown little regard for the legislative branch of government, and there isn't evidence he cares about much beyond his own ego and well-being.Thus, it seems Lindsey Graham is being left to twist in the wind. And Republicans are in greater danger of losing their Senate majority.It's hard to feel sorry for Graham. Any reasonable observer has seen that for Trump, loyalty is a one-way street. Yet Graham gave it, and demanded it of others. "To every Republican, if you don't stand behind this president, we're not going to stand behind you," Graham told a South Carolina crowd last year. Which raises the question: Who is standing behind Lindsey Graham now?Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com How to make an election crisis 64 things President Trump has said about women Republicans are on the verge of a spectacular upside-down achievement


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Tough talk on dealing with repairing the damage to SCOTUS

There is a lot of talk about what to do to repair the damage done to the Supreme Court by the Republican Party. One idea is to reduce the number of justices to six, casting aside the three Trump appointees. There is a major problem with this. Last on, first off does not work with lifetime federal judicial appointments. The only times the size of the court was reduced in the past—in 1800 and 1866—there was either a vacancy on the court that was eliminated, or the number of justices was reduced through attrition and non-filling of vacancies. The only constitutional way to remove a justice from the court is through impeachment (which we all know will never work as long as there are 34 GOP senators, and which has failed in the past). Which also means that impeaching, say, Kavanaugh, for perjury during his confirmation hearings, while probably entirely warranted, is a non-starter.

We Democrats are frankly not very good at making a case for ourselves. As a litigator, it was my job to make the best case for my clients. So, here goes.

Just FYI (and for what it’s worth), I am a lawyer and a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Let’s begin with an important statistic, a piece of evidence , if you will: GOP presidents have made 15 of the last 19 SCOTUS appointments. And let’s look at a subset of that mathematical evidence: five of those 15 have been appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote and were approved by senators representing a minority of the people of the United States. (What this means, numerically, is that if the court were expanded to, say, 15 justices, a Democratic president who won the popular vote would still have only appointed 10 of the last 25 justices!) The GOP has gamed the system by holding vacancies open for Trump—and not only Scalia’s seat, but over 100 lower court vacancies, some of which were filled by people the American Bar Association (not exactly a liberal bastion) deemed to be “unqualified.” The GOP has undermined the legitimacy of the court and that legitimacy must be restored.

There was a time—not that long ago—when the approaches of justices to constitutional issues changed, matured, and deepened over time. Earl Warren was a prime example of that: he went from being known as a “law and order” Republican to the head of the most liberal—and I would argue most legally significant—SCOTUS bench in our history. Warren, for example, understood the importance of the court handing down the decision in Brown v. Board of Education unanimously, and he worked hard to ensure that the decision was, in fact, unanimous. William Brennan, probably the most influential liberal justice on that court, was an Eisenhower appointee. Harry Blackmun, appointed as a conservative by Richard Nixon, authored the opinion in Roe v. Wade and became increasingly liberal during his tenure. John Paul Stevens, appointed by Ford, moved from conservatism to being one of the most liberal justices on the court. David Souter, appointed with expectation that he would be a conservative, first moved to the center and then to the liberal wing of the court.  

All these justices saw the potential effect that their decisions in the cases before them would have on the lives of real people, and that openness and, dare I say it, empathy, made them take the side of real people. And it is stories like these, of thoughtful conservatives and conservative legal scholars growing and developing into liberal justices, that has made the GOP so determined to ensure that only right-wing ideologues are seated on the court. Has Clarence Thomas grown and developed since his appointment? (Hell, he’s hardly participated in oral arguments.) Did William Rehnquist? Has Samuel Alito? No, no, and no. Will Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett grow and mature? Don’t bet the ranch.

Our unrelenting message must be that the GOP has, by its own insistence on the appointment of ideologues rather than open-minded jurists, undermined the legitimacy of SCOTUS; that the GOP has, by its manipulation of the appointment process for its own political ends, undermined the legitimacy of SCOTUS; and that this GOP “president” has, by ignoring the ruling of SCOTUS requiring the re-opening of registration for DACA, undermined the legitimacy (and authority) of SCOTUS. By these actions, the GOP has undermined the third branch of government, an independent judiciary, that is established in the Constitution that they pretend (word choice very intentional) to revere. It is up to us to point all this out, over and over and over again if necessary. It is up to us to make the case that the GOP has destroyed the impartiality of the third branch of our government. It is up to us to tell all comers that it is high time to rectify the destruction of the independent judiciary, and that we must act NOW. 

Democrats must get this message out there. The court, through the manipulations and political power plays of the GOP, is not—and the GOP does not intend it to be—a neutral arbiter. Despite John Roberts’ patently false claim that he will only call balls and strikes, the court is not a fair forum for the important cases it decides—just look at the shadow docket, in which unsigned per curiam orders have been used to decide, without opinion, cases affecting the right to vote and the way in which votes are counted. (Thank God for Sotomayor calling out the majority, even though, since they have no shame, it does not have any effect on their exercise of raw judicial power. At least we know what’s going on.)

These “conservative” justices have no problems with the worst, most abusive forms of judicial activism, like reading an entire clause or two out of the Second Amendment, or finding that corporations are “persons” and are entitled to protect their First Amendment rights and their political and religious beliefs, or finding that the Florida Supreme Court’s interpretation of Florida law as applied to a federal election was unconstitutional (Bush v. Gore, which they also tried to make into a non-precedent). They have no problem “distinguishing” precedents into meaninglessness—overruling them de facto if not de jure. The vast majority of cases decided by this court exalt the powerful, the white, law enforcement, or the religiously conservative over the poor, the disadvantaged, those who are members of minorities, the LGBTQ community, and those accused of crimes. 

And we need to be clear that time will not redress this problem anytime soon, which is why we must act now. 

Justices, with proper health care (which they have as federal employees) can serve well into their eighties. GOP presidents and senators have installed increasingly younger justices on the court. Without court expansion, it is unlikely that Biden will get more than one appointment during a 2021-2025 presidential term. That is because the only justice over 80 is Stephen Breyer, at 82. That one appointment will not affect the 6-3 conservative majority on the court, because a “liberal” would be replacing a “liberal.”

If the other justices serve until Breyer’s current age, here is when their seats would turn over:

  • Clarence Thomas, at 72, would not leave the court until 2030.
  • Alito, at 70, would depart in 2032.
  • Sotomayor, at 66, would leave in 2036.
  • Roberts, at 65, would leave in 2037.
  • Kagan, at 60, would leave in 2042.
  • Kavanaugh, at 55, would leave in 2047.
  • Gorsuch, at 53, would leave in 2049.
  • Barrett, at 48, would not leave the bench until 2054.

If we leave the number of seats at nine, this means that, absent unforeseen early deaths of some of the conservative justices, there is not a realistic opportunity for a change from a conservative-dominated court to a more liberal court until—are you ready for it?—2032! And that is based on the assumption that Democratic presidents would be in office and control the Senate when every single vacancy arises between now and then. That’s 12 more years of a conservative-dominated court—and that’s a best-case scenario. Twelve years of a court striking down statutes ensuring that people have the right to vote. Twelve more years of a court striking down laws that give access to health care. Twelve more years of a court striking down the very concept of reproductive rights. Twelve more years of a court giving a pass to corporations, underhanded prosecutors, and violent police officers. Twelve more years of a court allowing the GOP to gerrymander the hell out of every single district, state or federal, that they can.

The court, as an institution, must be expanded in order to reduce the importance and power of the constitutional interpretation mechanisms of individual justices. Sure, if there are 15 justices there will be a few 8-7 decisions, but there will be far, far fewer of them than there are 5-4 decisions currently. (Eighty-four of which in the past decade have favored corporations, limiting their liability and responsibility for their actions.)

Having argued cases for many years, before juries over the selection of which I had limited power, I believe that a majority of Americans can and will understand what is going on if it is clearly and effectively communicated to them. I believe that a majority would respond to this rationale and support the expansion of the court. (Trumpies won’t, but they are legal lost causes.) We Democrats need to do what the GOP does: develop talking points and relentlessly pound them whenever the chance arises—or, being even more like the GOP, pounding them even when they are not responsive to a question. 

This is a case we must make to the jury of the American public, and it is a case we must win if our civil rights are to be preserved. It is a case we must win to end minority rule in this country. It is a case we must win to ensure the survival of our democracy through the upholding, indeed expansion, of voting rights.

Am I angry about what has been done to SCOTUS? Damn right, I’m angry. And we need to get others to share that anger, especially as each new decision chipping away at (or blasting away) our rights is handed down.

Take no prisoners.

Desperate Trump campaign trots out Melania to make partisan attacks

Yet another indication that Team Trump is nervous about next Tuesday’s elections: Melania Trump emerged for a rare campaign event—her first solo event of 2020—on Tuesday and took a much more partisan tone than usual. In her remarks in Pennsylvania, Melania directly attacked Joe Biden (using official campaign talking points, nothing new to see) and attacked Democrats for … being divisive and not leading on COVID-19. She even tried to link her husband’s disastrous coronavirus response to impeachment.

“No one should be promoting fear of real solutions for purely political ends,” Melania said. Which, fair in a vacuum, but context matters. “The Democrats have chosen to put their own agendas over the American people's well-being. Instead, they attempt to create a divide. A divide in something that should be non-partisan and non-controversial. A divide that causes confusion and fear instead of hope and security. That is not the leadership,” she said, in as pure an example of Republican projection as you can probably find.

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Oh, my. Putting a partisan agenda above the American people’s well-being and instead trying to divide and govern through confusion and fear … gosh, how dare those dastardly Democrats do such a thing!

"Let us also not forget what the Democrats chose to focus on when COVID-19 first came into our country,” Melania offered. “While the President was taking decisive action to keep the American people safe, the Democrats were wasting American taxpayer dollars in a sham impeachment.” 

Um. Let’s turn to the timeline, shall we? 

The Senate’s vote on Trump’s impeachment trial was on February 5, three days after Trump restricted travel from China, a restriction that came later than other nations and was incomplete, rather than “decisive action.” At the time, Trump said, “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China. … We can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. So we’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”

Trump continued downplaying the threat of the virus—intentionally, as it turned out, with full knowledge that it was a serious danger—for more than a month. For example, February 12, a week after Senate Republicans acquitted him: “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

February 25: “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.”

February 27: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

February 28: “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. … And this is their new hoax.”

March 5, one month after the Senate vote: “With approximately 100,000 CoronaVirus cases worldwide, and 3,280 deaths, the United States, because of quick action on closing our borders, has, as of now, only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in) and 11 deaths.”

March 7: “We’re doing very well and we’ve done a fantastic job.”

By contrast, Joe Biden warned, “We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores”—before the coronavirus emerged in China. 

On January 27, he responded to the news of the emerging outbreak, writing “The outbreak of a new coronavirus, which has already infected more than 2,700 people and killed over 80 in China, will get worse before it gets better. Cases have been confirmed in a dozen countries, with at least five in the United States. There will likely be more,” and detailing preparedness measures that should have been taken.

Senate Minority Leader Schumer called on Trump to declare a national emergency on January 26. Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a plan for combating the outbreak on January 28. 

Democrats were responding early—yes, even during the impeachment process, walking and chewing gum at the same time—while Trump continued downplaying the threat for weeks and bragging that his too-little-too-late China travel restrictions had done all that needed to be done. That’s what Melania continues to brag about, despite the facts. Because otherwise, they have to admit they have nothing.

Whoopi Goldberg Suggest Democrats ‘Impeach’ SCOTUS Justices To ‘Balance Stuff Out’

On Tuesday’s episode of “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg suggested that Democrats make the unprecedented move of impeaching Supreme Court justices, saying that this would restore balance on the Supreme Court.

Goldberg Suggests Democrats ‘Impeach’ SCOTUS Justices

Goldberg said this while the panel on the ABC talk show was discussing the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett by the Republican-led Senate the day before.

“I think her appointment is really going to change the way the Supreme Court is going to not only handle cases but the way the Supreme Court is going to look going forward,” cohost Sunny Hostin said. “We all know the Republican Party has been packing the Supreme Court for decades. They’ve been packing the judiciary for decades.”

“Trump has put now three justices on the Supreme Court and just dozens and dozens of judges on the federal judiciary,” she added. “I think what we’ll see is perhaps the Democrats unpacking the Supreme Court, so there’s more of a balance.”

That’s when Goldberg chimed in with her own bright idea.

“Or some impeachments which is possible with Supreme Court judges. They also can be impeached,” Goldberg said.

“There are lots of ways to shift this,” she added. “One could impeach judges that have not stuck to the rules of being judges on the Supreme Court. That’s been done several times. There’s a lot of ways to balance stuff out.”

Pelosi Flirts With Idea Of Packing Supreme Court

This comes after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) flirted with the idea of expanding the Supreme Court during an interview with MSNBC.

“Should we expand the court?” Pelosi asked. “Well, let’s take a look and see.”

“But not — and that relates to the nine district courts, maybe we need more district courts as well,” she added. “And one other thing we need, we need for these justices to disclose their holdings.”

RELATED: Pelosi Flirts With Packing Court And Suggests ‘Maybe We Need More District Courts’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a self-described Democratic Socialist who has become the face of the far-left side of her party, has let it be known that packing the court is something she will be fighting for if Joe Biden wins this election.

“Expand the court,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday. “Republicans do this because they don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do. And for a long time they’ve been correct. But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal but a response isn’t. There is a legal process for expansion.”

RELATED: AOC Demands Democrats ‘Expand The Court’ After Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed

This piece was written by James Samson on October 28, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
Mayor de Blasio Pledges To Take Swift Action Against NYPD Cop Caught Praising Trump
Kayleigh McEnany Addresses Whether Trump Has Asked DOJ To Investigate Bidens
Hollywood Liberals Lose Their Minds Over Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation

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